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04-12

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Daily League Strategy: Week 2: Picking Pitchers
by
Tim Finnegan

04-04

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Daily League Strategy: Week 1
by
Tim Finnegan

09-26

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Daily League Strategy: Our (T.J.) House
by
Paul Sporer

09-19

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Daily League Strategy: Coors, Coors, Coors
by
Paul Sporer

09-16

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Daily League Strategy: Easy Peavy
by
Paul Sporer

09-12

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Daily League Strategy: Picking on Young Pitchers
by
Paul Sporer

09-09

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Daily League Strategy: Kole Powered
by
Paul Sporer

09-05

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Daily League Strategy: The Shoe Fits
by
Paul Sporer

09-02

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Daily League Strategy: A Pair of White Sox
by
Paul Sporer

08-26

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Daily League Strategy: Petco, it's Where Daily Leaguers Go
by
Paul Sporer

08-22

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Daily League Strategy: "Prado of the Yankees"
by
Paul Sporer

08-19

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Daily League Strategy: The Melky Way
by
Paul Sporer

08-15

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Daily League Strategy: Rollin' on Ross
by
Paul Sporer

08-12

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Daily League Strategy: Up Latos
by
Paul Sporer

08-08

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Daily League Strategy: Riding Out Slumps
by
Paul Sporer

08-05

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Daily League Strategy: Everyone's Favorite Candy!
by
Paul Sporer

08-01

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Daily League Strategy: Splurging on Bats
by
Paul Sporer

07-29

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Daily League Strategy: Stacking Lefties
by
Paul Sporer

07-25

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Daily League Strategy: (Alex) Wood is Good
by
Paul Sporer

07-22

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Daily League Strategy: Two Servings of Flande
by
Paul Sporer

07-08

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Daily League Strategy: Cutting to the Chase
by
Paul Sporer

07-02

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Daily League Strategy: A Bargain First Baseman
by
Paul Sporer

07-01

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Daily League Strategy: Leake and Locke
by
Paul Sporer

06-27

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Daily League Strategy: All of the Brandons
by
Paul Sporer

06-24

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Daily League Strategy: Going Cheap on the Mound
by
Paul Sporer

06-20

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Daily League Strategy: Latent Latos
by
Paul Sporer

06-18

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Daily League Strategy: Fave Three and Five
by
Paul Sporer

06-13

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Daily League Strategy: Picking on Ubaldo
by
Paul Sporer

06-10

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Daily League Strategy: Big Mike
by
Paul Sporer

06-06

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Daily League Strategy: Just Joshin'
by
Paul Sporer

06-03

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Daily League Strategy: Going Big at First Base
by
Paul Sporer

05-30

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Daily League Strategy: Kluber Club
by
Paul Sporer

05-27

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Daily League Strategy: Get Your Phil
by
Paul Sporer

05-23

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Daily League Strategy: Affording a Super-Ace
by
Paul Sporer

05-20

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Daily League Strategy: Two Stud Pitchers
by
Paul Sporer

05-14

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Daily League Strategy: Paul's Picks for Wednesday
by
Paul Sporer

05-09

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Daily League Strategy: Weekend Lineup Advice
by
Paul Sporer

05-06

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Daily League Strategy: Rolling Rox
by
Paul Sporer

05-02

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Daily League Strategy: May 2-4
by
Paul Sporer

04-24

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Daily League Strategy: Standing Out
by
Mauricio Rubio

04-22

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Daily League Strategy: Riding Tigers
by
Paul Sporer

04-21

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3

Daily League Strategy: Stars-and-Scrubs
by
Craig Goldstein

04-18

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Daily League Strategy: Bargain-Bin Starters
by
Paul Sporer

04-15

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3

Daily League Strategy: Struggling Stars
by
Paul Sporer

04-11

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2

Daily League Strategy: Sticking With Your Guys
by
Paul Sporer

04-08

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2

Daily League Strategy: Underpriced Studs
by
Paul Sporer

04-04

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4

Daily League Strategy: Navigating a 15-Game Slate
by
Paul Sporer

03-31

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9

Daily League Strategy: Opening Day Lineup
by
Paul Sporer

03-28

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3

Daily League Strategy: Managing Your Bankroll
by
Paul Sporer

03-25

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6

Daily League Strategy: Introduction
by
Paul Sporer

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April 12, 2017 6:00 am

Daily League Strategy: Week 2: Picking Pitchers

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Tim Finnegan

Skills—for the pitcher, for his opponent and his even own lineup—all matter when picking for daily leagues. But so does ballpark environment.

In Week 1, we discussed basic strategies for picking hitters to roster in daily leagues. One of the key points from that article is that fantasy owners want to find hitters who have a good chance to be in a high run-scoring environment. Focusing on opposing-pitcher quality—meaning, finding opposing pitchers who do not usually effectively prevent runs, prevent extra base hits, or prevent baserunners—is a good first step.

This week, we'll do the opposite and focus on basic ways to pick pitchers. Generally, when picking a pitcher, I look for a few key things. I want a pitcher who has a good chance to be in a low run-scoring environment, because pitchers are docked points for allowing earned runs. I want a pitcher who will pitch deep into the game, because pitchers gain points the more innings they throw, and in some formats for quality starts (6+ IP of 3 ER or less). I want a pitcher who will get enough run support to be in position for a victory, because pitchers earn points when they are credited with the win. And I want a pitcher who is going to rack up strikeouts, because pitchers get points for strikeouts. It’s sometimes difficult to find all of these qualities in one pitcher, so I look for as many as possible.

To do this, considering the quality of the opposing team that the pitcher is facing is important, just like with picking hitters. A punchless lineup in a pitcher's park on a chilly night is going to have a more difficult time scoring runs than a high-powered lineup in a hitter's park on a hot summer night. A lineup that has a lot of swing-and-miss in it, like the 2016 Brewers, who had a team-strikeout rate near 26 percent, makes it more likely that a pitcher can generate strikeouts. A team starting an ineffective pitcher against a team that is running out their own ace makes it more likely that the ace pitcher will get run support and be in position for the win, because his opponent is starting a pitcher who is prone to giving up runs.

Looking at splits is important, too. If a lineup is right-handed heavy, starting a pitcher who eats up righties, someone like Julio Teheran, can be another good way to increase the chances of run prevention and the accumulation of strikeouts. Teheran’s numbers have been dramatically better against right-handed hitters. Since the start of 2015, Teheran has an outstanding .570 OPS against, 2.78 Fielding Independent Pitching and 26.4 percent strikeout rate against right-handed batters. Home splits are also notable. Starting pitchers league-wide are more effective at preventing runs and baserunners in home games. The reason for this could be related to the pregame bullpen. A home pitcher throws his pregame bullpen and goes right to the mound while he’s hot, while the road pitcher sits in the dugout after his bullpen and cools down for a half-inning. That’s one theory, anyway. I generally favor picking a home pitcher over a road pitcher when most factors are close because of the league splits, assuming the pitcher’s home park isn’t a haven for scoring runs due to environmental or ballpark effects.

In terms of the pitcher's own skill set, the primary stats I look at when picking pitchers are OPS against, ERA, FIP, and strikeout rate (K%—not K/9). I prefer K% over K/9 because K% uses the total number of batters faced and paints a more accurate picture of strikeout skill. Finding pitchers who are efficient with their pitch counts also is helpful for finding pitchers who can get deep into games and rack up points for innings pitched.

So, for example, yesterday I picked Carlos Carrasco for a few reasons. Obviously, Carrasco’s own skills are really good, but the matchup he had is what grabbed my attention the most. Carrasco was facing a below-average White Sox team at Cleveland that has a lineup projected to score in the bottom five league-wide in total runs for the rest of the season. The opposing pitcher for the White Sox was James Shields, one of the least-effective pitchers in baseball over the past year. Carrasco looked like a good bet to prevent runs, get run support and be in position to get the win. Shields ended up only giving up one run, so run support wasn’t there like I had expected, but Carrasco pitched well enough to score well in fantasy by logging seven innings pitched, getting seven strikeouts, and allowing one run and four hits. Identifying favorable situations like these is something I find important when making pitching choices in daily leagues.

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April 4, 2017 6:00 am

Daily League Strategy: Week 1

2

Tim Finnegan

Find the best batters by researching certain statistics of the opposing pitcher. And don't forget to do the splits!

Throughout the winter, we dabbled in some daily league analysis in our Welcome to Splitsville series. Now that the season has started, it's time to dive in a little deeper. Daily leagues are a different animal than seasonal leagues. In seasonal leagues, fantasy owners draft whichever players they think will have the best numbers at the end of the season. In daily leagues, we want to focus on players who will be most productive on a given day in particular. Hitters who are off the seasonal-league radar sometimes can be productive plays for daily league owners in select situations.

In picking batters to use in a daily league, the first thing I look at is opposing-pitcher quality. Fantasy owners want to target batters who have a good chance to be in a high-run-scoring environment. This often means finding opposing pitchers who are prone to getting whacked around with extra-base hits, or prone to putting runners on base. I look at stats like opposing-pitcher triple slash (AVG/OBP/SLG) against and Fielding Independent Pitching, and split it up between batter handedness. The triple slash tells us the outcomes that happened, and the FIP gives us a predictive peripheral statistic to help support the triple slash. Looking at strikeout rate (K%) and walk rate (BB%) also is helpful. A low strikeout rate means more balls are put into play, which means more things can happen to support run scoring.

The introduction of Welcome to Splitsville talked about a few different splits that fantasy owners can use in daily leagues. The most important split is left/right, or platoon splits. Opposite-sided batters usually have an advantage against pitchers over same-sided batters. Tying splits into opposing pitcher quality is important. Sometimes, pitchers can be average on the whole, but be much less effective against opposite sided hitters than same-sided hitters. For example, some right-handed pitchers have a nasty fastball/breaking ball combo that eats up righties, but they lack a good arm-side pitch, like a change up or splitter, to get lefties off their fastball. Using a left-handed batter who hits right-handed pitchers well in this matchup is a good way to use splits to find production.

Park effects are important for run scoring, too. A cold April day in a pitcher's park is not the most-ideal situation for scoring runs. The ball travels better in warmer air. Looking for ineffective pitchers, in hitters parks, in warm weather (or indoors), is a good start for picking hitters in daily leagues in April. Chase Field in Arizona is often a gold mine for hitters in April.

I also focus heavily on statistics, and try to avoid narratives, when trying to select hitters. A narrative is something along the lines of, “This hitter was traded by the team he’s facing today, so he’s going to have extra motivation to focus and play better today.” Avoid that type of rationale, and instead focus on what the statistics say about the opposing-pitcher quality and quality of the hitter himself.

Every Tuesday this season, I’ll be looking at certain players in daily leagues—hitters and pitchers—who have decent matchups based on the numbers, and I’ll be writing about them here. When picking batters in daily leagues, I like to target opposing pitchers who have an average or below-average OPS against the handedness of the batter I’m thinking of using. The higher the OPS of that pitcher against that batter handedness, the more priority I have in finding a hitter to use against that pitcher. Of course, the skill level of the hitter is important, too. For example, LHP Patrick Corbin is listed as the probable starting pitcher for the Diamondbacks on Tuesday night. Last year, right-handed batters hit .293/.365/.485 off Corbin, good for an .850 OPS against, about 100 points higher than the league average. Corbin's poor 5.07 FIP vs RHB gives us more evidence to support the ineffectiveness. He struck out only 15.5 percent of righties he faced last year, compared to 29.1 percent of left-handed batters, where league average K% is around 21 percent. That means that right-handed batters put the ball in play at an above-average level against Corbin. Chase Field also is one of the best hitting environments in baseball. This pitching environment, based on the pitcher quality and ballpark, looks good for run scoring for right-handed batters in this matchup.

Buster Posey ($3,300 FD) is one play that stands out. Posey has a significantly above-catcher-average wRC+ of 141 vs LHP over the past two seasons, where league average wRC+ for catchers in that time is about 86. Posey’s high skill level against LHP, combined with Corbin’s below-average skill level vs RHB, and the upgraded park environment from San Francisco to Arizona for hitters, make Posey an outstanding choice for hitter tonight, more so than what Posey normally would be. This is the type of process I generally use on a nightly basis when choosing hitters in daily leagues, and it usually works well for me.

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The Indians lefty has been remarkably consistent of late, so he's in Paul's recommended pitching lineup for today.

With DraftKings’ acquisition of DraftStreet, I will now be using that site’s dollar values to select my players of the day.

We’re going with three arms and three bats today. I didn’t have a ton of bats that I loved despite a full slate, but the three I picked are all high-impact types.

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September 19, 2014 1:41 pm

Daily League Strategy: Coors, Coors, Coors

0

Paul Sporer

Three of Paul's four recommended hitters will play at the mile-high yard tonight.

With DraftKings’ acquisition of DraftStreet, I will now be using that site’s dollar values to select my players of the day.

PITCHING

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Peavy is joined by a boom-or-bust Toronto starter, the quietly excellent Neil Walker, Victor Martinez against a lousy pitcher, and others.

With DraftKings’ acquisition of DraftStreet, I will now be using that site’s dollar values to select my players of the day.

PITCHING

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With Allen Webster going for the Red Sox and Nate Karns starting for the Rays, Paul stocks up on Royals and Jays.

With DraftKings’ acquisition of DraftStreet, I will now be using that site’s dollar values to select my players of the day.

PITCHING

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Paul keeps going back to the well for more points from the Angels outfielder in a favorable matchup with Colby Lewis.

With DraftKings’ acquisition of DraftStreet, I will now be using that site’s dollar values to select my players of the day.

PITCHING

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Angels righty Matt Shoemaker has been outstanding for more than two months, earning him a spot on Paul's pitcher list for today.

With DraftKings’ acquisition of DraftStreet, I will now be using that site’s dollar values to select my players of the day.

PITCHING

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Paul likes Jose Abreu and Adam Eaton to take care of Twins lefty Tommy Milone, so they earn spots in his recommended lineup.

With DraftKings’ acquisition of DraftStreet, I will now be using that site’s dollar values to select my players of the day.

PITCHING

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For pitching, that is, and that's why both starters in today's Brewers-Padres matchup make Paul's recommended lineup.

With DraftKings’ acquisition of DraftStreet, I will now be using that site’s dollar values to select my players of the day.

PITCHING

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John Sterling might use that call tonight, with homer-prone John Danks pitching at Yankee Stadium, so Prado is in Paul's recommended lineup.

With DraftKings’ acquisition of DraftStreet, I will now be using that site’s dollar values to select my players of the day.

PITCHING

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Paul doesn't trust Mike Fiers at the Rogers Centre, so the Jays outfielder earns a spot in his recommended lineup.

With DraftKings’ acquisition of DraftStreet, I will now be using that site’s dollar values to select my players of the day.

PITCHING

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